Interview with Philip Cook

How has the student work ethic evolved in the past ten years? How have attention span, attention to detail, and work completion rate changed? Is this related to technology?

It’s hard for me to tell. Ten years ago I did not have honors or AP classes. The work ethic is tremendously better, but for me to know that [SchoolBrains] impacted it I would have to have had comparably classes. 

How has the introduction of online technologies, such as the online grade book platform affected student work ethic? Has it improved?

With the combination of resources, (SchoolBrains, Moodle, etc.) you’d think that it would. I think it has to because when I was at school you could not check [your grades]. It’s very helpful to put the grades into the computer and let it do the math. 

What has not changed since the introduction of these technologies? How has the student mindset regarding grades remained constant?

I’m always willing to talk to students. I know some kids will check online resources and know that it is important [to do so] Some don’t follow up and [need me to follow up with them]. I know I lose time talking to kids individually, but if I don’t tons slip through the cracks [and repeat the same mistakes]. 

What are the pros of using SchoolBrains?

Some don’t like it, but I don’t know why they don’t want their students to see their grades all the time. I like it; I think it’s very positive. I can’t print grades everyday. I think it’s great that people can see everything and get clarity. Numbers can be vague, it’s good for students to see where it [all] comes from. When you spend everyday doing something meaningful, it adds up. 

It’s irrefutable that it should help. I had teachers who made it clear, but I couldn’t see [everything]. Email is good too. It all adds up to better communication and clarity. What we want is clarity. 

What are the cons of using SchoolBrains?

The only negative I can think of is that some people suffer from anxiety because they are checking it constantly. I have had those who realize that it is a good thing to check, but get obsessive. I would say that’s more of an issue than before. 

 [I try to update consistently.] If kids can tell I’m doing what I said [I would, they’ll know] I’m on their team, and that I’m not treating myself differently.